Winter Hours, Wait Till The Morning (1985/1986)

Of all the jangly mid-80s college radio bands, Winter Hours were one of my favorites, and sadly one of the most tragic.  While some (i.e. R.E.M.) made it big, and a few continued to release great if overlooked albums (i.e. the Connells), Winter Hours, hailing from the Northeast rather than the South, never got the recognition they deserved, and all their work is long out of print. Vocalist Joe Marques died young, and guitarist Michael Carlucci passed away a few years ago as well.

But their music is worth checking out.  The band's music, like much of the genre, blends Byrds-like guitar jangle with Americana, quiet melodicism, and a touch of melancholy.  They are distinguished by Marques' striking vocals, which seem particularly heartfelt and affecting.  But ultimately it comes down to a number of really great songs, spread over one early LP and a few EPs.  I managed to snag a CD copy of Wait Till The Morning back when it was in print; it combines a 1986 EP of the same name with the 1985 Churches EP.  The title track is the standout, pure pop perfection, though the moody "Hyacinth Girl" and lovely "Island of Jewels" are no less memorable.

While you can't buy the album (unless you hunt down used copies somewhere) or stream it from Spotify, it's been ripped to YouTube, so you can check it out there.  They went on to release one final album before breaking up, 1989's self-titled Winter Hours, which fortunately is available on Spotify; I don't think it's as strong as their earlier work, but it's nice enough and worth a listen.

Here's the "Wait Till The Morning" video:
Here's a live take on "Hyacinth Girl" (needs a volume boost):
Here's an audio rip of the entire CD:
Guitarist Bob Perry of the band continues to keep the flame alive, periodically performing Winter Hours songs; here's his recent spin on "Island of Jewels":
As mentioned, the album isn't streamed on Spotify, but here's their 1989 album:
Also, here's a decent tribute album, with various indie rockers covering Winter Hours:

Comments

  1. When I lived in Baltimore in the 80s, WHFS Radio in nearby Annapolis played cuts from the Winter Hours album and I quickly tracked it down. I was playing it today and decided if there was any info on the band. Was surprised to find they made several cds. Have always loved their sound. Now I know to begin searching for their other releases. If you feel the other releases are better than Winter Hours, must be some good stuff awaiting. I always felt bad the band made such a great largely unheard album and disappeared. Will have the see if I can bring up more if your musings. Thanks!!!

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    Replies
    1. Glad to see you stumbled across this. Hope you've turned up some of WH's earlier stuff, truly remarkable, and a damn shame it's all out of print.

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    2. The vinyl’s still cheap for now, but the CD is fabulously rare. I own my orig. copy only!

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    3. The vinyl’s still cheap for now, but the CD is fabulously rare. I own my orig. copy only!

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    4. It's a damn shame it's so hard to come by. And their Leaving Time album never got a legit CD release. Given the passing of half the band, I assume that will never change, so I end up sharing what I have with people discovering their music.

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